As the calendar creeps towards the New Year we are entering a fun, sometimes tempting time known as the holiday party season.

Like Thanksgiving, if you are watching what you eat, this can be a challenging time.

“There are ways to eat healthy and still have fun at holiday parties, but you definitely need to be mindful,” says Kelley Koplin, a clinical dietitian at Bayhealth.

For starters, don’t skip meals before holiday parties. If you go to a party hungry, you are more likely to overeat.

“Be picky. Only choose your favorite foods if you are going to indulge. You don’t need to try everything,” says Koplin. “When deciding what to eat at a holiday party, pick any vegetable or fruit. Fruits and vegetables should cover half of your plate. Next you can pick your protein. Eating these foods first will fill you up and give you nutrients.”

Being a social butterfly is one way to avoid mindless eating.

“One way to cut down on your eating time is to work the room. Say hi to everyone and make sure you are moving around,” says Koplin. “When you are being social and engaging with people, you are less likely to hover around food dishes.”

Keeping a drink in your hand is another simple yet effective way to cut down on the amount you eat.

“I always tell people to keep one hand busy,” says Koplin. “By doing something as simple as holding your drink in your hand, you are making it more difficult to put more food on your plate. But be careful what you put in your cup! Water should be your beverage of choice to avoid the extra calories in sweetened drinks and alcohol.”

When it comes to dessert, be selective. “Pick pumpkin pie over cheesecake. A cookie is a well-portioned dessert if you have just one,” says Koplin.

Ultimately, she urges everyone to be realistic.

“It’s important for people to realize that the holiday season is difficult. There will be temptations and you may indulge a few times,” says Koplin. “You can get back on track. Your body can handle it. Try to maintain consistency when you can, but it is okay to treat yourself every once in a while.”


Bayhealth offers inpatient and outpatient dietitians. If you are interested in talking to an outpatient dietitian, consult your primary care physician. If you have any questions about services offered by an outpatient dietitian, call 302-744-6828 or go to